Alternate addresses for Brittingham Park amenities:
Beach House & Brittingham Boats - 701 W. Brittingham Place
Dog Park - 326 S. Broom
Boat House & Camp Randal Rowing Club - 617 North Shore
Alcohol is prohibited in this park. For more information, see the Madison General Ordinance 8.24. In order to have alcohol in this park, you must have an alcohol permit, which may be obtained through the Parks Administrative Office.
An all-inclusive playground opened in the fall of 2017. LEARN MORE
Camp Randall Rowing Club operates out of the Brittingham Boat House, 617 North Shore Drive. Be sure to check their website for details on youth rowing classes, clubs as well as adult programming.
Brittingham Boats operates boat rental, lessons, classes and concessions out of the beach house, 701 W. Brittingham Place.
The restroom facilities are locked, and available with shelter reservation.
3 hour parking at all times in the parking lots. MGO 8.18(2) and (5) and Section 1.08(3)(a)
This park features a memorial to blues guitarist, Luther Allison.
Madison Parks ranks #1 in the nation for number of basketball hoops per resident, come check out the hoops in your neighborhood! Most of the basketball courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you are planning a new league or tournament see Athletic Field Reservations.
Madison Parks has some of the best lake views in the area with beaches located throughout the city. Seasonal lifeguard service is provided at select beaches, beginning in June and continuing into early September at select locations. See below for specific days and times for each location.
BEACHESwith multiple lifeguards
• BB Clarke, daily 11am to 7pm (through Monday, September 2)
• Olbrich, Wed. - Sun., 11am to 5pm (through Sunday, August 25)
• Tenney, Wed. - Sun. 11am to 5pm (through Sunday, August 25)
• Vilas, daily 11am to 7pm (through Monday, September 2)
BEACHESwith a single lifeguard ( through Sunday, August 18)
• Bernie's, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Esther, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Spring Harbor, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
• Warner, Friday - Sunday 12 to 4pm
WATERCRAFT RENTALS & MORE (see also Canoe & Kayak Rentals)
• Brittingham Park: Madison Boats
• Olbrich Park: Rutabaga Paddlesport
• Marshall Park: Madison Boats
BEACHES with no lifeguard service • Brittingham • James Madison • Marshall • Olin
2019 Beach Conditions: Thank you for your patience as we continue to recover from last year's flood. We are working to secure proper permits to replenish the sand at our beaches. We anticipate this work happening in early July. Please continue to enjoy the beaches in the meantime.
FAQ: IF A BEACH IS CLOSED DUE TO THE WATER QUALITY, IS THE PARK STILL OPEN?
Yes. Water quality testing is performed by Public Health Madison & Dane County Memorial Day to Labor Day. If a water test shows concerning results, the beach is listed as closed until bacteria or blue-green algae levels decline. During this time, there is no lifeguard service and you are advised to avoid the water. The park remains open to the public for other activities. It is also advised to avoid the water after heavy rainfall. MORE INFORMATION
Madison Parks offers various locations to launch a canoe or kayak and is allowed at all of Madison Parks motorboat launch sites. Additionally, the parks listed below have a specially designated area for launch.
If you are looking to store your kayak or canoe in a park, please visit the storage webpage.
James Madison Park pier update (07/31/19): The pier at James Madison Parks sustained significant damaged during the flood of 2018 and was removed. Due to FEMA regulations and approvals, the replacement of this pier has been delayed. Unfortunately, we do not have a timeline for its replacement.
View all Canoe & Kayak Launch Sites
Location: Brittingham Park, 701 W. Brittingham Place Telephone: (608) 250-2555 More Information: Madison Boats at Brittingham Park Notes: Available: Canoes, single and tandem kayaks, stand up paddleboards, paddle boats, water mats and fishing boats.
Dogs visiting from other areas are always welcome with proper license and/or vaccinations from your town/municipality. Be prepared to show proof if asked by a Park Ranger.
A dog license is ONLY available after a rabies vaccination is administered by a veterinarian within 30 days after the dog reaches 4 months of age. Dogs under 5 months of age or without proper vaccinations, are therefore not licensed and are PROHIBITED.
REQUIRED Dogs must remain on-leash to/from your vehicle to the inside of the dog park area.
PROHIBITED Dogs are not allowed in any non-designated park, which includes children's play areas, beaches, athletic fields, conservation parks, Forest Hill Cemetery or in any park building. During the winter dogs are not permitted on groomed cross-country ski trails.
Licensed and permitted dogs are allowed, on-leash & on path as posted in the following 26 parks.
In February 2017 the Board of Park Commissioners and the Madison Common Council approved the on-leash dog parks pilot program. More information. In summary, under this ordinance, an additional 14 parks joined the existing 12 parks where dogs are permitted on-leash and on-path, where posted. It is the intent that within these new parks, dogs will be limited to the paved paths, or within six-feet thereof, which will be posted as such at the entrances, subject to the existing requirements that the dog be under the owner or handler's control, the dog is licensed and has a permit to use dog exercise areas.
Madison Parks has several park shelters with working fireplaces. You are welcome to use the fireplaces with your park shelter reservation. Hoyt Park also has several refurbished outdoor fireplaces where you can enjoy toasted marshmallows and a quiet evening around a fire. Just remember to bring your own wood and extinguish the fire completely before leaving the park. Please note, fires are not permitted in Vilas Park during the winter months. View all Fireplaces
Wisconsin residents aged 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Nonresidents aged 16 years old or older need a nonresident fishing license to fish in Wisconsin waters with hook and line. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website for more information.
Every year, the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June and the third Saturday and Sunday in January, are designated as Free Fishing Weekends throughout the state of Wisconsin. Residents and nonresidents of all ages can fish without a fishing license (and trout stamps) over these two days. Visit WI DNR
Description: The construction of this public boathouse represents the spirit of municipal improvement that infused this city at the turn of the last century. The parkland and its model facilities were created through the generosity of lumberman Thomas E. Brittingham and the hard work of a private group, the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, headed by John M. Olin. The facilities also included a large bath house to the west, which was demolished in the 1960s. In 1921 a wing for more boat storage was added to the south in the same design as the original. George B. Ferry and Alfred C. Clas of Milwaukee were distinguished architects known here for their design of the Wisconsin Historical Society building on campus. The boathouse was built on former marshland and has structural problems as a result. It is planned in the near future to move it a little way to sounder ground and renovate the historic structure.
The boathouse was designated a City of Madison landmark on July 18, 1977 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Madison Parks are a unique blend of active recreation and passive recreation spaces. Open Fields are just that - open, not pre-designed as a softball diamond, or football field. These open fields are available in these parks to spark your imagination, play a game of tag, or follow the leader - or anything you can think of! Enjoy your parks!
Parking lots are available in these parks for the programs or events in these parks. Parking lots are available from 4:00 am to 10:00 pm. Overnight parking is not allowed. Parking regulations specific to that park are posted at the entrance of the park.
View all Parking Lots
Madison Parks has 175 playgrounds to spark your imagination right in your neighborhood. In fact, the City of Madison has the most playgrounds per resident of any city in the nation, with almost 2 more playgrounds per 1,000 residents than the city that got second place! From swing sets, to unique climbing features our playgrounds are perfect for your toddler to your teen.
Restrooms are located throughout the parks system and in most cases in a park with a reservable shelter. Most of the restrooms are available only during the summer months. Restrooms available during the winter months include those open for winter activities at the following parks: Tenney, Vilas, Elver, Olbrich, Warner and Westmorland Parks.
No firearms or weapons are permitted on this property. Violators are considered trespassers and subject to forfeiture or arrest.
WHAT IS LOTTERY DAY? This is the first day you may make a shelter reservation for the following year. Held typically on the 2nd Tuesday in November, the day begins with in-person reservations (see below), and follows with phone-in and online reservations.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
Beginning at 7:30am and ending promptly at 7:59am, each party wishing to reserve a park shelter is given a numbered lottery ticket. The distribution takes place in the lobby of the City-County Building, outside the Parks Administrative Office (210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Rm. 104)
Due to the random drawing process, arriving prior to 7:30am is not recommended or necessary. The building is locked until 7:30am.
Only ONE lottery ticket is given to each party reserving a shelter. Failure to abide by this rule may forfeit your eligibility in the Lottery Day process.
Beginning at 8:00am, random lottery tickets are drawn. This order establishes when reservations are processed.
If you arrive after the drawing begins, you will need to wait until the Lottery Day process is complete before you may place your reservation.
Cash, checks or credit cards (MasterCard or Visa) are accepted for your full payment, which is due at the time of processing your reservation, along with any required permits.
Cancellation Policy: Reservations made during the Lottery Day process will receive only a 50% refund up until 10 days prior to the reservation. Within 10 days, no refunds are provided.
Reservations and checking the availability of our larger shelters may be completed ONLINE or you may call the Madison Parks Office at (608) 266-4711 Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:15 pm. More information and details on reserving a large shelter may be found in our Shelter Reservations Guide.
Most shelters are open mid-April through mid-October. There are a few exceptions:
Please Note: We are continually improving our park system. Some of these improvements may impact a nearby shelter. Prior to making a reservation, please visit Parks Projects for more information on specific parks.
Pricing varies depending on the shelter and may be viewed here.
Picnic shelters are also reservable or available on a first-come, first served basis.
Madison Parks does not guarantee absolute privacy to any group. Your reservation will reserve only the facility you are using, not the entire park or other facilities within the park. If you are interested in reserving the entire park, please visit Special Events.
Alcohol is permitted in most Madison Parks. There are a handful of parks that are alcohol-free. In order to have alcohol in these parks, you must have a reservation and an alcohol permit, which can be obtained when placing your reservation.
Public improvements and/or construction may be underway during the time of your reservation. The City of Madison Parks Division makes every attempt to schedule around events and shelter reservations whenever possible, however, this is not a guarantee. Please keep in mind improvements to parks and infrastructure continues throughout the year. Please visit Park Projects for a partial list of major capital improvement projects.
Firearms or weapons are not permitted at any of the shelters. Violators may be considered trespassers and may be subject to forfeiture or arrest.
The availability of Gates of Heaven may be checked online however, you will need to call to make your reservation.
2020 RESERVATIONS: Available beginning on Lottery Day - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Slacklining is a balance sport which uses nylon webbing, typically 1"-2" wide, suspended horizontally between two anchor points. Slacklining and hammocking, under policy are allowed at specific times and on specific park trees. In December 2017, the Board of Park Commissioners approved a policy and guidelines for slacklining and hammocking on park trees. The policy provides inforomation on when, where and how. Please review the following documents before tethering on any park trees.
Madison Parks has nearly 100 tennis courts. Most of the tennis courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. When courts are reserved, at least one must be left available for pick-up play. Please note that all tennis leagues and all tennis instructors must pay for a reservation, no matter the location. Go to: Athletic Field Reservations
Practice Wall Locations:
Bordner, Brittingham, Elver, Olbrich, Tenney, Waunona and Westmorland
Ultimate Frisbee fields are typically large open spaces. Organized groups may reserve these fields for their league play using our online reservation system Athletic Field Reservations
FIELDS, OPEN OR CLOSED?
The best and ONLY way to know if your field is open for play is to call the Rainout Line (608)267-8787. Weekdays the line will be updated by 2:00pm, weekends and holidays the line will be updated by 9:00am. The line will be updated if fields are questionable, if no update by times listed, fields are open for play. A notification will be sent to the email address used to reserve an athletic space when a space is closed due to weather.